Huckleberries

August 24, 1912 – The Mendocino Beacon reported that a shipment of 3,000 pounds of huckleberries had been sent to San Francisco. The editorial suggested that the huckleberry had “a distinct place as a pie fruit and for other purposes, and the apparent good demand seems to bear out this conclusion.”

“There are thousands of acres of these berries along this coast, and in most cases they are as free as air to those who would go and pick them. Here is an opportunity to combine pleasure with profit for those who enjoy the outdoor life. One’s capital need not exceed a couple of tin pails and two active hands.”

Fred M. Weber, who owned a general merchandise store on Main Street, handled the shipping arrangements. “He will ship in the required 25-pound boxes, and will pay particular attention to seeing that the berries get to market in the proper shape. No reason exists why many tons of these berries should not go forward to market each year, and thousands of dollars be returned to this and other coast communities as a result.”

Hand tool with tines
Frank Valentine’s huckleberry picker, a tool used to harvest huckleberries quickly.

The huckleberry is still plentiful in the wild today. In the northwest, it thrives from the coast up to 6,000 feet in soil enriched by decaying wood.

Final Weekend! The Kelley House pays tribute to legendary local ‘70s band Cat Mother with a collection of ephemera, albums, and artwork. Cat Mother was an eclectic rock band formed in Greenwich Village, New York in 1967. By 1970, Cat Mother was living on the Mendocino Coast inspiring locals with outdoor “Boogies” and sparking creativity and community on the coast. Museum Hours: Thurs – Sun, 11 AM – 3 PM.